As previously reported here Caterham F1 has been bought by a Swiss-Middle eastern consortium in a deal brokered by former Force India and HRT boss Colin Kolles.
Kolles will remain as a consultant to Caterham, which will retain its name for the forseeable future.
A statement said: “The new ownership takes charge with immediate effect. Former Dutch F1 driver, Christijan Albers, assisted by Manfredi Ravetto, will take over the day-to-day running of the team, reporting directly to the board and replacing Cyril Abiteboul who will leave the team to pursue new challenges.”
“We are aware of the huge challenge ahead of us,” said Albers, “Given the fight at the bottom end of the Championship and our target now is to aim for tenth place in the 2014 Championship. We are very committed to the future of the team and we will ensure that the team has the necessary resources to develop and grow and achieve everything it is capable of.”
Although it hasn’t been mentioned yet there will also be new technical direction, with sources suggesting that a name new to F1 will get the job. The new owners plan to make the team a lot more efficient than it has been up to now.
As previously reported here, Abiteboul is heading back to Renault and Viry.
A Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium is understood to be behind the takeover of Caterham F1, in a deal that will be confirmed in the coming days.
It’s believed that the consortium members, including interests from Dubai, intend to keep a low profile. The deal was brokered by a former F1 insider who will retain a role as an advisor.
As previously revealed here current team principal Cyril Abiteboul is expected to return to Renault’s Viry engine division with the full support of Red Bull. His initial task will be to give the beleaguered organisation some direction as it prepares to upgrade the current engine for 2015.
A new team principal and new technical direction will be installed at Caterham’s Leafield base, and it’s understood that their brief will be to improve the efficiency of the team – and try to ensure that it finishes in the top 10 of this year’s World Championship.
The Caterham name will be retained, as there are no plans to request a change for 2015 and beyond. The team will also continue to use Renault engines.
For more see previous story: (see https://adamcooperf1.com/2014/06/27/new-owners-at-caterham-f1-as-fernandes-prepares-for-exit/).
A change of ownership of the Caterham F1 team is expected to be announced in the coming days, as suggested in my recent story on the future of Red Bull and Renault’s Viry engine base.
As part of the changes current team principal Cyril Abiteboul is expected to return to Viry to help bolster Renault’s F1 operation, at the behest of Red Bull. A new management structure will be introduced at Caterham.
Any new owner would have to purchase the Malaysian company that is the ultimate owner of the team.
Tony Fernandes dropped a clear hint about a change of ownership today when in closing his Twitter account he said, “F1 hasn’t worked love Caterham Cars.”
Earlier this year Fernandes told this writer that he was considering a withdrawal from the sport.
“It’s never made commercial sense,” he said. “But I came into the sport thinking the budget was going to be capped at $40m, and it’s never come anywhere close to that. But I’ve built an industrial division around it, which has made it make a little bit more sense.
“We’ll see how it goes this year, but if it doesn’t work, Caterham’s in a good position, and maybe someone else should have a go at doing it.”
It’s believed that the new deal involves only the F1 team, and not the GP2 outfit. The identity of the purchaser is not yet known, but it is not connected to either of the new F1 projects from the USA and Romania.